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Overcoming Senior Depression

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 13, 2019

by Tom P Blake

As I’ve written many times, emails from Champs provide the fresh information that makes weekly publishing of this eNewsletter possible.

Today, an email from Champ John is featured in Part One – Overcoming Senior Depression

Part 2 wasn’t planned. I mentioned in last week’s column that it was the final article about the trip to Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and Scotland. But something came up that I thought you might find interesting about traveling—I call it “Roll with the flow.”

And Part 3 mentions in about 42 words the date and time of the next Meet and Greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point.

Here we go:

Part One – Overcoming Senior Depression

I appreciate emails like the one Champ John sent this week.

He wrote, “I wanted to let you know that your book, ‘How 50 Couples Found Love After 50,’ has motivated me to ‘break out’ of depression.”

John’s comment pleased me. When I published that book, my goal was to provide information and hope to singles, based on the stories of 58 couples. (I know the title says 50 couples, but there are, in fact, 58 couples featured).

So, what the book did for John is what I had hoped would happen to people who read it – give information to help them improve their lives.

John explained he was depressed by a combination of three things: A divorce after 19 years of marriage, major back surgery, and a ‘workaholic’ lifestyle (he was still working 40-60 hours per week at 72).

He said that after reading the book, he started to get out and about and socialize.

John said: “I signed-up for a two-day bus trip to the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, UT, which was organized by my local, public radio station, KNPR. Twelve fellow playgoers (whom I had not met) and I saw four wonderful plays, walked the town, ate, drank and conversed: I had a wonderful experience! On the return trip, we exchanged contact information with one another for the purpose of sharing pictures and planning future activities.

“One unexpected benefit of the trip was experiencing joint and muscle aches, after prolonged walking and step-climbing, and shortness of breath from lack of daily exercise. How can something that is painful be a benefit? My body was telling me to regularly exercise and to control my diet, to avoid disability.

“My heart told me that emotionally walling-off myself from others was not in my best interest; that the mutual and heartfelt exchange of human affection is the real stuff of life.

“I know that I now am on the comeback trail to Life and Living. Thank you for your inspirational writing.”

The three factors that were depressing John, which I comment on below, affect many seniors today.

1 Depression after the loss of a spouse or partner. John is of the age where many people lose a loving partner–through divorce, accident or death. It can be mentally crippling, causing people to shut themselves off from the outside world. Lately, there has been much in the news about the debilitating effects of loneliness on senior’s health. John now understands that daily social interaction with people is essential.

2 Importance of exercise and eating right. On the trip John took, his body sent him an important message: “Keep me moving. Get me in shape.” It’s one of the most important things seniors can do to remain healthy. And, John also realized on the trip that eating the right foods is a must.

3 A workaholic at 72. Some people keep working after 70 because the income is needed. But, as we age, we must take time to stop and smell the roses. Working at that age can be stressful. It can lead to an early unnecessary demise. We need to ask ourselves, “Do I really need to be working this hard at my age?” and “Shouldn’t I get out and have fun while I’m still able?”

I am pleased that How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 helped John break out of depression. But it was his effort to get out and mingle with new people that did the trick.

The book is available in hard cover and as an E-book, on and Or, for a special Champ reduced price on the hard-cover version—and a signed, personalized copy–email me at with questions. I will ship to your friends as a gift and endorse it to them if you request that.

How 50 Couples Found Love After 50

There are actually 58 couples included

Part 2 – Roll with the flow travel event

When I mentioned that last week’s article would be the final one about the Ireland-Iceland-Greenland and Scotland trip Greta and I just took, that statement was before our trip home. Then, a Roll with the flow travel event happened.

Greta and I feel lucky to be alive. OK, I admit, that statement is a bit dramatic, but there’s truth in it, which I will explain.

In 20 years of traveling together, we understand there will be travel-related situations that arise that aren’t pleasant, or, weren’t planned or anticipated.

They accompany the travel game. They won’t appear on your itinerary. They come unexpectedly.

And the way you deal with those situations? “Roll with the flow.”

This happened last Saturday. Greta and I were scheduled to fly home to Dana Point, California, at the end of our 30-day holiday to Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland.

We disembarked the ship at 8:45 a.m. We waited at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to catch a 4:30 p.m. flight to Paris’ Charles de Gualle Airport, where we were connecting to a nonstop Air France flight to LAX.

The connection time was tight. We barely made our 6:50 p.m. departure and were happy to be buckled into our seats on Air France. We were going home, and it felt good.

An hour out of Paris, above Northern England, the pilot announced over the PA, “We have a mechanical issue. The anti-collision radar has stopped working. We can’t see other airplanes. We cannot fly over the Atlantic Ocean without it. We are turning back to Paris. It should be a quick-fix.”

I looked at Greta, saying, “There is nothing we can do except Roll with the flow.”

I didn’t mention to her that I was concerned about flying into such a busy airport (10th busiest in the world, 481,000 aircraft movements in 2018) through clouds, the ground not in site, with no anti-collision radar. I simply crossed my fingers while listening to The Beach Boys sing, on the plane’s in-flight entertainment system. I could sense in looking at other passengers that some were concerned.

I watched the screen in front of me as it showed the U-turn and the airplane progressing back:

airplane turn around

Eyes glued to the screen at my seat

On final approach, still listening to the Beach Boys, their song, “Don’t Worry Baby,” started playing, which I thought was almost humorous.

The plane landed. Some passengers applauded. We were safe. Nothing else mattered. A few hours inconvenienced but so what? Roll with the flow.

Passengers were told to take all carry-on items off the plane. And to go to the ticket counter. But we were not told which counter or how to get there (Air France has about 100 counter windows there).  Some 300+ passengers were wandering around trying to find the place we were to congregate. It was 10 p.m.

We were not told anything except to get in line at the counter. An hour later, Greta and I got to the counter. We were told, “The flight is cancelled. It will go tomorrow, hopefully.”

We were given a box lunch and a voucher for an airport hotel that took us over an hour to get to—there was no transportation available at that late hour other than an inside-the-airport-connecting train that we couldn’t find. The Air France lady had tried to explain to us in French how to get there.

We were walking through dark parking lots and potentially dangerous areas. I thought, yikes, this is possibly more dangerous than the flight that turned back.

A few minutes before midnight, we arrived at the hotel. I got in line at the hotel reception desk and told Greta to go to the bar and order us a glass of wine, before the bar closed. It had been 15+ hours since we had departed our ship to go home.

The wine was decent; the box lunch filled with carbohydrate and sugar snacks. Not edible.

Blue Lunch Box

Blue Lunch Box

Carbs and Sugar

Carbs and Sugar

But, we had a roof over our heads and we were safe: Roll with the flow

The next morning, an email arrived early from Air France: “Check in is at 9 a.m. Flight departs 11:30 a.m. We cannot locate your checked luggage. It didn’t make the connection from Amsterdam. Rest assured, we are searching for it.”

We had to retrace our steps to the airport check-in for our boarding passes and go through tight security again. When we finally got to the gate, Air France had changed it to the opposite end of terminal three. Oh well, what’s another 300 yards?

We departed at 11:50 a.m. and arrived safely at LAX, about 20 hours after originally scheduled. Amazingly enough, the checked luggage was on the flight with us after all.

I won’t even get into the traffic mess at LAX these days. It was horrendous. Trying to find your Lyft or Uber driver is zoo-mania.

In travel, one needs to Roll with the flow.

Part 3 – September Meet and Greet

The Meet and Greet gathering for senior singles is scheduled for Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Thursday, September 26, 5 to 7 p.m. Beer and Wine $5. Appetizers complimentary. Hope to see some of you there. In the first three months, some couples have already formed. Yea!


At a recent Meet and Greet

Roll with the flow

At a recent Meet and Greet

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